Antonio Frasconi

Artist's Biography

Sanitation Workers, Memphis, 1968.

Woodcut and offset lithograph, 1990.
Image size 24 x 26" (61 x 66 cm).
Good condition, small tear in lower margin.
LOCATION: New York City

Inventory Number: 94050
Price: $1,000.00
Publisher :
From "The Enduring Struggle, Tom Joad's America" by Antonio Frasconi, introduction by Leon F. Litwack, published 1991.

From the colophon "... In my many years of being involved with fine printing, this project has been a most challenging one; the combination of offset lithography and woodcut within the same image, created problems that I could not have solved without the tremendous help of our Master Printer "extraordinaire", Technical Specialist, and Computer Programmer, John Mastracchio, as well as his associates, Cliff Meador and Ilse Schreiber."

On February 1, 1968 two black sanitation workers were crushed to death by a malfunctioning truck. Twelve days later 1,300 black sanitation workers voted to go on strike for safer working conditions and to join the states workers union. On February 22 the city council voted to accept the workers demand to join the union, however, the mayor denied the council's request. Protests and violence escalated against the black striking sanitation workers, galvanizing the community against the mayor and council. In march high school and college students, many white were protesting alongside the sanitation workers. On March 18, 1969 Martin Luther King arrived and spoke to a crowd of 25,000, he encourage everyone to support the striking sanitation workers by causing a city wide work stoppage. Due to a snow storm the protest was delayed until March 28. The demonstration got out of hand the police shot and killed a 16 year old and followed other protestors into the Clayborn Temple releasing tear gas in the sanctuary.

The mayor called for martial law and brought in 4,000 National Guard troops. The next day 200 striking workers continued their daily march wearing signs “I AM A MAN.” Martin Luther King came back to the city on April 3 and gave a speech. On April 4, 1968 he was assassinated on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.

signed, titled, and dated in pencil. Inscribed "2/10."
20th Century Subjects , Historical , Miscellaneous